The 2016 Ryder Cup is still 10 months away, but the gamesmanship has already started.
Paul McGinley, who captained Team Europe to victory at Gleneagles in 2014, told Sky Sports on Thursday that it is “a bit strange” that U.S. captain Davis Love III has already named four of his five vice captains for Hazeltine.
“I really haven’t figured it out yet,” McGinley said. “One of the things that came out of the task force was that they were going to have a succession plan in place. It’s quite clear that they will be captains at some stage in the future, so maybe it’s part of that succession plan.”
In a surprise move Wednesday, Love announced that Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker would be joining Tom Lehman as his assistants in Minnesota, hailed a sign of America’s renewed commitment to the event after losing eight of the last ten matches.
“I’m surprised that they’ve done it so early,” McGinley said. “Normally, in Europe, we might announce one or two vice captains well in advance, but we don’t really until the 11th hour. We give everyone the best chance they have of making the team.”
McGinley singled out Furyk, who at 45 is still the ninth ranked player in the world. He won for the 17th time on the PGA Tour at the RBC Heritage last April and has a strong chance of making the team as a player.
“Is his mind going to be swayed by the fact that he was announced early as a vice captain?” McGinley asked. “We’re going to have to wait and see. But it is a bit strange.”